Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It was about two months ago that I first began to think that my life was at a crossroads. Roughly a month ago that fact was brought into brutal clarity by PAX. Thinking on it now, it's actually been true for at least three months.

There's a thing about having a crossroad in your life. Life isn't that simple. It doesn't follow big simple directions, in fact in the first version of this writing this paragraph was about the whole idea being an illusion. I realized something though. The crossroads metaphor is valid, because all of these choices that I'm making, the countless minutia that will inevitably define my path, the basic choice is the same.

The conflict, the choice, is hard to describe. In what is practically a breach of character I don't have any heavily flourished labels for the two sides. I can't even really describe them, so I'll try and show you them with one of the recurring examples.

Most Saturdays I meet with a group of friends in Federal Way for D&D. I've been meeting with this same group with some degree of regularity for over a year, I think almost two years. For the largest part of that time this worked fine. It gave me something to do on Saturday, and I wasn't busy, and more importantly wasn't potentially busy anyway. About four months ago the group got progressively more and more flaky, and that was pretty much entirely my fault. This is because over the last nine months I have evolved into someone who is always potentially busy, and at the time that was still new to me and I was being flagrantly irresponsible with it. Flagrantly. This continued on through the part of the summer where Kevin was driving cross country which gave me a bit of an excuse, and now that things are back in the proverbial swing I'm part of a new D&D game, which Kevin has been developing on and off for months now and is DMing. I have said to the group that I'm going to make sure that I'm not hurting the game this time, and I've said that in a way that implies that it's guilt from last time, but the real reason I've made this commitment is fear. The reason I may eventually break this commitment is also fear. You see by doing this tame scheduled activity pretty much every Saturday I keep my life organized, and simple. It also steps on a huge number of things I might do. Even if I had all of those Saturdays free there's no guarantee that I necessarily would do any of them, but there are so many things I want to pursue.

This brings me to the nature of the problem, which I finally thought of a way to describe. On one hand you have the fear that drove me to stay with the group. The fear of consequences. I know of so many things I want to do, but all too recently I came to also possess the knowledge of what those things bring with them. The gains are incredible. I've grown an amazing amount as a person, I've learned things that can not be learned any other way, and I've had an incredible amount of highly fulfilling entertainment while I was at it. These same things were also bad for my finances, bad for my personal health, bad for my grades, and more often then not, fraught with emotional peril. It was my thoughts on this issue, and this fear, that have lead me to cut back pretty heavily. I've had my period of indulgence, and I have resolved to keep things tame now that school is starting again.

But that's bullshit. I really wish it wasn't, but it is, because while I know all of the problems that come from the path of consequences, I am all too justified in also having the fear of regret. I know what this whole "keeping things tame" idea leads to. It leads to someone who never goes out, who still wastes money, but who wastes it on restaurant food because his energy is too sapped to cook. It leads to a low level depression that is the slow killer, that takes away the zeal, and makes you numb enough that you don't notice when you get into high level depression. It's boring, it's weak, it casts away the opportunities and leaves me regret of what might have been. It's who I used to be, and I know that person all too well not to fight against becoming him again.

And here's the problem. Both sides are making accusations, both sides are right, and both sides are also wrong. If I continue to pursue the adventure, the social, the new then I might end up damaging myself as a student and damaging my health. If I take measures to keep life more in line, more tame, more mundane then I might slip back into depression and isolationism. Both sides are also so promising. Only by following the path of consequence will I continue to grow, will I find more of the higher self, will I find the adventure that stimulates and fulfills me. It's the thing that gives me the strength to be myself, and gives me the energy of spirit to take on the real issues. However, only by following the path of regret will I manage to make myself focused and responsible enough to archive my long term goals. It's the only way I'll get my shit in line, get my grades up, and get my health improved.

This is the terrible promise of the unknown. I call it that because both promises are bullshit, because I don't know, and can't know what each path will lead to. Higher self maybe, but the chances of me being a burnout on that path seem pretty good too. And yes it does seem like the path of regret would make me a better student but life was pretty tame back in 2005 when I was barely attending classes and living in a state of emotional catatonia. It is because of the fact that I can so easily dismantle the promises of either side that this fills me with so much fear. When I sit down and think about this, really think about it, I am overcome with a feeling that I have not felt in over a year. Panic. That anxious tension over the entire body that sits exactly on the cusp of fight and flight and does not know and feels like it may at any moment simply die.

I had really hoped I was done with that. Although on the plus side I've gotten far enough along that I find it funny that I once had that feeling at the thought of leaving the apartment.

To Be Continued


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